By: Vivienne Pearson
A few months ago we discussed just a couple of spots on the Lismore food scene (Mecca and Goanna) and found out that our readers wanted to know more about what was available outside the bubble enclosing the printed Byron Echo’s home distribution area. Again, intrepid reporter Vivienne Pearson ventures to the town where Rupert Murdoch’s Lismore Echo* is the ‘local paper’, and provides a further taste of what’s on offer…
What do you do if you’re a chef who can’t find a job that doesn’t involve cooking meat? You open your own cafe! It is no secret that The Garden Plate offers vegetarian and vegan food. The secret bit is the hidden-away courtyard, which is painted with a huge rainforest mural. 86 Magellan Street. M–F 7.30am–4pm, 6622 5160. Facebook: @thegardenplate
A Little Nook
Little is the operative word when describing Nook Laneway 2480. The space really is a nook, snuggled into an arcade. It is a credit to the team that they make everything onsite, despite not even really having a kitchen. How do you find it? ‘Just look for the bicycle,’ says one Trip Advisor reviewer, referring to the bike that is parked on Keen Street by a black-painted telephone pole at the entrance to the arcade. Embassy Arcade. M–F 7am–3pm. Facebook: @nook-laneway-2480
Flock to flock
Like an elongated version of Nook, Flock Espresso and Eats started life three years ago in just a tiny laneway shop and gradually expanded lengthways as neighbouring shops became available. It is now a long, thin and colourful cafe. ‘We make nourishing food that we like and everyone else seems to agree,’ says one of the owners, Sarah Jones. It seems she’s right – people really do flock here – the queue was out into the laneway at lunchtime. 4/39 Woodlark Street (also known as Mathers Laneway). M–F 7am–4pm, Sat 8am–2pm. Instagram: @flockespressolismore
If you prefer your cafe a little bigger and less hidden, try Dragonfly. You can’t miss it – the dragonfly motif is beautifully enacted in all sorts of ways – from metal sculptures inside to Banksy-style street art outside (created by a customer). The team of year years prides themselves on their friendliness, experienced baristas and full-time bakers creating yummy cakes. 36 Carrington Street. M–F 7.30am–5pm, Sat 7.30am–3pm. Instagram: @dragonflylismore
There are not many cafes who can claim that their dishes are washed in a strong room. Well, an ex-strong room, anyway. The Bank Café premises were built in the 1930s, though I suspect it wasn’t blue and purple then. This is a good one to keep in mind for Sundays and public holidays, or if you find yourself in need of some Wi-Fi time or a craft beer (there are 21 to choose from). Friday nights are dubbed Buns & Hops with live music. Owner Brad Rickard will happily share his local knowledge on all things Lismore. 67 Molesworth Street. 7 days 7.30am–3.30pm and Fri night dinners. Facebook: @thebankcafe
Possibly the best-known eatery in Lismore is The Lismore Pie Cart, offering single-serve sweet and savoury pies (including curried lentil and duck & mushroom) under the shade of trees opposite the Transit Centre.
Lismore Pie Cart, 11 Magellan Street, M–F 6.30am–4.30pm, Sat 7am–2pm. Facebook: @lismorepiecart
This little piggy
A 5–10-minute drive out of town is The Spotted Pig, a delightful cafe-in-an-old-church. One section is sombrely beautiful with stained-glass windows, and the other section is light with a green-ensconced verandah. Breakfast and lunch are the go, with occasional pop-up dinners and functions (including weddings). Named after the spotted breed of pig that chef Iohne Simpson grew up naming then eating, there is usually some pork on the menu among heaps of other options, including vegetarian. Regular readers might remember Iohne as the chef who partnered with then-Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell to (ahem) beat Simon Richardson and Sean Connolly in the My Mayor Rules cook-off at Sample last year. But we won’t hold that against them… 3 Alphadale Road, Lindendale (5–10 min drive from Lismore). Wed–Sun 7am–2.30pm, occasional dinners. Facebook: @thespottedpigcafe
Tiny space, yummy cake
Allison the Cake Maker bakes at home in the quiet of the early morning so she only needs a tiny space to serve her creations hidden away in the Star Court Arcade. ‘I cook what I feel like,’ Allison says. ‘So there’s a surprise every day.’ She always has one savoury option – brie tarts and duck crepes on the day I visited – and your cake can be accompanied by a pot of tea or plunger coffee. Star Court Arcade. Tues–Fri 10am–4pm, Sat 9.30am–12.30pm. Instagram: @allisonthecakemaker
Outro: These are only some of the great places to eat and drink next time you’re in Lismore. Head to Echonetdaily to add your comments about those you have discovered.
*Q: Does The Byron Echo own The Lismore Echo? A: No. The Byron Echo is independent, and The Lismore Echo is owned by Rupert Murdoch. The owners of The Byron Echo sold The Lismore Echo to its staff ages ago for a song, along with the name. Sadly, in 2008 those staff sold out to APN, who in turn sold out to an even bigger corporation in NewsCorp, a process over which The Byron Echo had no control.